A lot of anger and confusion in the US and beyond about why John Kerry or a similarly high-ranking figure is not in Paris. Barack Obama has sent Eric Holder, the attorney general, to attend the security summit. So it's odd that - according to the US Embassy in Paris - he has not attended the march. The US is instead represented by its ambassador.
Figuring, probably rightly so, that most of my followers and friends don’t care to get dragged into acrid political discussions, I have tried to avoid posting my opinions and observations, but after the attacks in Paris it’s past time to take a stand.
Like it or not, America is currently the only real super power of the free, developed world. Our economic influence is undeniable and we have the most powerful military, with the most advanced weapons. We send our soldiers into harms way because we are the only country with the ability to make a difference, in places where awful things happen and we simply can’t turn the other way and not notice. (In my opinion there are some places we should have been, but didn’t go because it wasn’t politically expedient, or we didn’t have a monetary interest.) But the bottom line is that often we are the only line between the unthinkable and a better alternative.
Back when planes were driven into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, the outpouring of support from our allies all over the world was unstinting. They rallied to our call to go after the murderous zealots and all of our allies have lost sons and dollars in the struggle to contain the growing threat of Radical Islamic terrorism. Even before 2011, our allies showed their solidarity and support when terrorism struck the US on foreign soil; when our embassy was bombed followed by the Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983 and when the USS Cole was attacked in 2000. After the embassy bombing, when the president of Lebanon begged for increased peace-keeping forces, both the Italians and the French sent soldiers to stand in solidarity along side of the Americans. Yet when France sees outrage and terror on her streets, in her capitol, where were we? After 9/11 the French were among those countries that supported our march into Afghanistan to route out Al-Qaeda, but when they are attacked on their soil, were were we?
Our president gave lip service to his outrage, but refused to call it Islamic terrorism. He declared that France was our oldest ally, yet when the world came together in France to show their support and solidarity Obama chose to stay home with nothing on his calendar at the White House. Heads of state from German chancellor, Angela Merkel, to British Prime Minister, David Cameron, from President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta to Israeli’s Benjamin Netanyahu were there, but the president of the United States was not. Not even our Vice President. Among the forty world leaders and over one and a half million who attended the march, the only official of the United States was our Ambassador to France.
As Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post succinctly put it: “Having no high-level representative at the unity march was the perfect exclamation point on the administration’s policy of self-delusion and exemplified Obama’s retreat from the world. We are not leading; we are not even following.”
And I, as an American, am disappointed and angry. And disillusioned.
As reported in the Wall Street Journal, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, made this comment: “This is simply no way to treat our oldest and first ally. President Obama should have stood with France in person, defending Western values in the struggle against terrorism and showing support for the victims of this despicable act of terror. Skipping this rally will be remembered as a new low in American diplomacy.”